Even though the Wii U hosts some of Nintendo’s greatest games, the console sold poorly. This partially had to do with Nintendo’s lineup; after all, the best games released long after the Wii U’s launch. Nintendo relied heavily on sequels and remakes, but many of those games weren’t different or innovative enough to attract players—including Nintendo fans.
The Wii U also suffered from poor, unclear advertising. Using “Wii” in its name and Wii Remotes for gameplay, the Wii U strangely functions more like an enhanced Wii than an independent console. Several games rely more on the GamePad than Wii Remotes, but the GamePad isn’t a very good controller. The touchscreen works well, but the other controls feel awkward beneath your fingers.
Nintendo included more DLC starting with the Wii U, particularly with amiibo. These figurines have mixed reception; in my opinion, their price doesn’t match their usefulness. Some Wii U games require amiibo, though, so you may find certain amiibo figurines worthwhile.
Despite its flaws, the Wii U offers a lot of great titles. Fortunately, Nintendo is developing some of these games for their most recent console, the Switch. Other games are currently exclusive to the Wii U. If you own the console, you absolutely need to play these games. Here are the 50 Wii U games published by Nintendo, ranked from worst to best so you know which to buy and which you should avoid at all costs.
50 Star Fox Zero
Thanks to Star Fox’s core shooting mechanics, fans expected the franchise to dominate the Wii—yet Star Fox never appeared on the Wii. Because of that (as well as the 10-year gap between Command and Zero), Star Fox Zero built an incredible amount of hype.
Sadly, that hype was misplaced. Apart from its beautiful graphics, Star Fox Zero disappoints players in every way. The GamePad’s gyroscopic motion controls are clunky. Zero introduces poor mechanics like the Walker, weird camera angles, and unnecessary aiming on the GamePad’s screen.
Nintendo delayed Star Fox Zero in response to negative feedback, yet they failed to improve the gameplay. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Nintendo mistakenly threw out the characters and storylines from previous Star Fox games, making Zero an awful reboot that ruins the franchise.
49 Mario Party 10
Nobody asked for a new Mario Party game, yet Nintendo nonetheless created Mario Party 10 and ruined everything we love about the series. The previous titles perfectly combined board game elements with mini-games. Mario Party 10, on the other hand, focuses solely on the mini-games. Every player moves together in a single cart, thus turning boards into linear tracks. Instead of strategically racing ahead of players, crushing them, or pursuing secret routes, you must follow whatever path other characters choose—and you can’t interact with those characters.
In addition to ruining the board games, Mario Party 10 includes terrible mini-games. Nintendo designs misbalanced mini-games where some players get an unfair advantage. Even the fair competitions are usually chaotic. Apart from the occasional well-designed mini-game, nothing in Mario Party 10 is fun to play.
48 Pokkén Tournament
A real-time version of Pokémon Stadium may sound amazing, but Pokkén Tournament skewers the fighting game genre. Most fighting games wisely stick to a 2D perspective, but Pokkén Tournament awkwardly switches between Duel Phase (2D) and Field Phase (3D). Field Phase ruins the game with its terrible camera. The camera works somewhat well during single-player mode because it stays behind your character; in multiplayer, you never know where the camera will go or which player will have the advantageous perspective.
Pokkén Tournament entirely takes place in circular arenas. These arenas nicely pay homage to Pokémon Stadium, but they’re boring for a real-time fighting game.
The battles themselves are somewhat fun, but too many delays and cinematics accompany your attacks. With smoother gameplay and more varied level design, Pokkén Tournament could have amazing.
47 Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Every Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games title’s been worse and less original than the last, making Rio 2016 the worst of the bunch. Most of the Olympic mini-games come from previous games, and they feel just as bland as they did before. The new sports—football, rugby, and boxing—are even less interesting thanks to underdeveloped gameplay and little variation between character stats.
Rio 2016 boasts amazing graphics, but the settings barely make use of those graphics. Every mini-game takes place in drab stadiums except Duel Football and Archery, which offer beautiful views of the city. Nintendo ought to show more of Rio to justify the setting and visually entertain players. As it is, Rio 2016 combines boring gameplay with boring visuals.
46 Devil’s Third
Only the multiplayer of Devil’s Third is any fun, and the multiplayer is vastly inferior to other shooters like Halo and Call of Duty. With clunky controls and an awkward third-person camera, you’ll only occasionally enjoy online multiplayer.
The single-player campaign, on the other hand, is impossible to enjoy. Both regular attacks and cinematic kills look terrible. Ivan and his enemies move awkwardly, slashing at each other like brick walls. In addition to awful attacks, the enemies have poor AI programming and sometimes move away instead of fighting you.
Finally, the story and characters are so bad you’ll never want to finish the campaign. With poor voice acting and an abundance of cutscenes, you’ll cringe throughout the campaign—although you’ll enjoy the occasional well-written joke.
45 Game & Wario
Originally designed as a launch title for the Wii U, Game & Wario released half a year after the Wii U came out. The 16 mini-games show 16 different ways you can use the Wii U—and they’re incredibly boring. With clunky controls, slow pacing, and singular objectives, the mini-games show why so many people criticize Wii U mechanics. The simplistic games also demonstrate why mechanics—no matter how brilliant they are—need good content so you can fully appreciate those mechanics.
The game would have been bad no matter what, but it’s especially disappointing as a member of the Wario franchise. Game & Wario throws in our favorite Wario characters while abandoning the quirkiness, fast pace, and varied gameplay that make Wario games so much fun.
44 Wii Party U
Like Mario Party 10, Wii Party U combines a linear, uninteresting board with a list of unpolished mini-games. These mini-games use strange mechanics and even stranger objectives, leaving you confused and dissatisfied after every round.
The only reason Wii Party U trumps Mario Party 10 is its charm. While Mario Party 10 lacks originality, Wii Party U isn’t afraid to be weird. You’ll find yourself laughing as yours Miis throw themselves across the screen and beat each other silly with hammers. I highly recommend playing the game with other people; if you play alone, you’ll want to stop playing as soon as you start. With your friends, you can laugh together at just how terrible and bizarre Wii Party U is.
43 New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is one of the most overrated games of all time, and its sequel isn’t any different. New Super Mario Bros. U uses the same music, aesthetics, and controls of its prequel, giving fans a completely unoriginal game. While the Wii game added great power-ups like the Penguin Suit to the franchise, the Wii U sequel adds boring outfits like Flying Squirrel Mario (which is just a worse version of Cape Mario).
Instead of fixing the franchise’s problems or making an innovative platformer, New Super Mario Bros. U is a worse version of its prequel. The majority of levels and bosses still feel stagnant, and multiplayer is still a chaotic mess. If you want an exciting 2D Mario game, you should play New Super Luigi U instead—but you’ll find out all about that further down the list.
42 Dr. Luigi
If you enjoyed Dr. Mario, you might enjoy Dr. Luigi—but I don’t guarantee it. Dr. Luigi upgrades the franchise with 3D, HD graphics—and they actually worsen the game. Luigi and the viruses move outside the playing field, distracting you from the core gameplay. Even the playing field looks terrible: the 3D pills move nauseatingly across the screen. Nintendo should have stuck with older, smoother graphics and avoided outside the movement. With Luigi awkwardly swinging his arm back and forth, you’ll never want to look in his direction.
Apart from the annoying visuals, Dr. Luigi preserves the gameplay of Dr. Mario. In fact, the gameplay’s almost exactly the same. If you’re looking for an original sequel, Dr. Luigi isn’t the game for you.
41 Sing Party
Outside of its wonderful song selection, Sing Party has no outstanding features. Single-player and competitive karaoke are fun enough, but Sing Party also includes terrible “party” modes. Other players can participate as backup singers or audience members. After trying these roles, however, you’ll never want to play them again. You barely participate; when you do, you perform bizarre, boring actions like cheering and dancing. Nobody wants to cheer and dance in a singing game, particularly when the developers put so little effort into those modes.
Fortunately, Sing Party does well with its primary singing modes. The Wii U microphone interprets voices well—it’s very good at reading both notes and words. Sing Party occasionally includes great visuals, but the backgrounds are usually uninspired, odd visuals like 3D polygons. You’d probably enjoy regular karaoke more than playing Sing Party, particularly if you’re singing with friends.
40 Mario & Sonic At The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
I’ve always enjoyed the winter versions of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games more than the summer games. The winter mini-games take place in larger, more varied settings—and the snowy courses look better than running tracks.
Sochi 2014 also improved the franchise in multiple ways. The game introduces online multiplayer, making Sochi 2014 more worthy of your money and time than previous titles. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games has always been more fun with other people. Nintendo finally realized this and included online multiplayer, giving you more people to compete with.
The game adds Figure Skating Pairs to the franchise, which is quite entertaining. Two players must work together in a variety of actions, including holding hands, jumping, and spinning around each other. The other mini-games may bore you, but Figure Skating Pairs will make you and your friends laugh in no time.
39 The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Twilight Princess HD is fairly fun for new players, but it’s frustrating for those of us who played the original Twilight Princess. Everyone expects better graphics in HD remasters, yet Twilight Princess HD looks almost exactly the same.
Nintendo only made minor changes to gameplay, too. Switching items and transforming into a wolf is easier. Hero Mode offers more challenging combat. Unfortunately, Nintendo added poor ideas like the Ghost Lantern (which points you toward Poes) and fewer Tears of Light, making the easy game even easier than it should be.
Instead of focusing on making new Legend of Zelda games, Nintendo pointlessly remastered Twilight Princess. If you’ve already played Twilight Princess on GameCube or Wii, there’s no need for you to play the Wii U version.
38 Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
While previous Ninja Gaiden games wonderfully challenge players, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge abandons difficult combat for “epic” gameplay. Countering and dodging no longer play an important role thanks to the cinematic kills of Razor’s Edge. These cinematic kills not only interrupt combat but also emphasize how clunky the combat is. In Razor’s Edge, Ryu only kills enemies fluidly during cinematic kills; otherwise, he awkwardly hacks at enemies. Other Ninja Gaiden games use consistently fluid combat, turning every press of the button into a satisfying, believable attack.
Earlier games featured more difficult and more varied enemies, keeping players on their toes from one fight to the next. Ninja Gaiden 3 discards that difficulty, making the game accessible to a wider audience but disappointing most Ninja Gaiden fans.
37 Pokémon Rumble U
Of all the odd Pokémon spin-off games in the world, Pokémon Rumble U least deserves a place in the franchise. The game abandons turn-based strategy for real-time hack and slash—except instead of hacking and slashing, you beat your head against other Pokémon until they collapse. Your Pokémon’s type helps against certain enemies; apart from that, the game lacks any strategy.
Nonetheless, Pokémon Rumble U surpasses Pokkén Tournament. Both games solely use circular stages, but Pokémon Rumble U occasionally adds obstacles to keep gameplay interesting. Unlike Pokkén Tournament, Pokémon Rumble U has a stable camera with only one angle. Finally, Pokémon Rumble U features a 4-player cooperative mode. You won’t enjoy this game alone, but the game can be pretty entertaining when played with friends.
36 Wii Sports Club
Wii Sports Club—an HD remake of Wii Sports—improves upon the original game by adding online multiplayer. That’s it. Despite the HD graphics, Wii Sports Club looks just like Wii Sports. The five mini-games are still fun, but they feel the same as in the prequel—except for Golf. You still swing your virtual golf club with the Wii Remote, but now you place the ball at your feet with the GamePad. This makes Golf more realistic, challenging, and fun; just make sure you don’t accidentally step on the GamePad.
If you want to enjoy Wii Sports with online friends or strangers, you should get Wii Sports Club. Otherwise, there’s little point in buying the remake, even if you haven’t played the original game. After all, Wii Sports is one of Nintendo’s most overrated games.
35 Hyrule Warriors
While the bigger, tougher enemies in Hyrule Warriors are fun to fight, most of the game offers no satisfying challenges. You hack and slash through mobs of weak enemies like Bokoblins and Stalchildren—which is surprisingly disappointing thanks to the lack of difficulty. Cutscenes, cinematic attacks, and useless enemy hordes make gameplay far less interactive than it should be.
As an uncreative rip-off of Dynasty Warriors, Hyrule Warriors feels out of place in the Legend of Zelda series. I loved the opportunity to finally control Zelda on the battlefield, but the other changes worsen the franchise. With poor voice acting, oversexualized female characters, and boring combat, Hyrule Warriors entertains some players but angers many Zelda fans.
34 Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
If Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was redesigned as a regular tennis game—one completely unrelated to Mario—it’d be a pretty good game. You can hit the ball a variety of ways, all giving matches a realistic, quick pace. The game may bore you after a while, but it’ll keep you entertained for at least a few hours.
As a Mario Tennis game, however, Ultra Smash is a major disappointment. What happened to the amazing power-ups and character abilities that make Mario sports games so much fun? The only power-up in Ultra Smash is the Mega Mushroom, which you can only access in Mega Battle mode. The Mega Mushroom isn’t particularly fun or exciting—particularly since your character blocks most of the screen.
33 Art Academy: SketchPad
Art Academy: SketchPad functions more as an application program than a video game. Giving you every color you’d ever want of pencils, colored pencils, and pastels, SketchPad is a wonderful digital drawing tool. Drawing on the GamePad feels great (unless, of course, you prefer feeling paper beneath your fingers).
SketchPad improves upon previous Art Academy games through online functions. Now you can share your work with an online Nintendo community, and you can view amazing drawings made by strangers.
Unfortunately, SketchPad doesn’t include drawing lessons like other Art Academy games. With lessons, SketchPad could have been a helpful, informative app. Instead, it’s a tool that supports your hobbies without necessarily enhancing them. Nintendo learned from this key mistake in the sequel, Art Academy: Home Studio—which you’ll see later in this article.
32 NES Remix
NES Remix takes moments from classic NES games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda and combines them with short, simple challenges. That might sound like a fun idea, but Nintendo terribly executes the concept. The challenges just aren’t challenging. I’d much rather play through the NES games or their ports; the original games offer more satisfying, authentic challenges.
Since you only spend a little time with each game, you have to learn a lot of controls. NES Remix forces you through excessive tutorials before the challenges. You almost spend as much time beating the challenges as completing the tutorials. No video game should require tutorials, particularly one that consists of 16 separate NES titles.
31 New Super Luigi U
New Super Luigi U is the fast-paced, fresh game New Super Mario Bros. U should have been. Nintendo originally released New Super Luigi U as DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U, but the game can now be purchased separately. The DLC converts the original game’s stages into more challenging levels. With more enemies and a shorter time limit (you only have 100 seconds to complete each stage!), New Super Luigi U challenges even the greatest Super Mario players.
As the DLC of an uncreative game, New Super Luigi U still isn’t particularly innovative. However, the game makes up for its lack of new ideas with a thrilling mashup of old ideas. If you enjoy the unforgiving difficulty of early Super Mario games, you’ll love New Super Luigi U.
30 Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
The “FE” in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE stands for Fire Emblem, yet the game possesses very few Fire Emblem characters. Nintendo and Atlus designed the game as a crossover between Nintendo’s Fire Emblem and Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei, but the game clearly belongs in the latter franchise.
In addition to a severe lack of Fire Emblem references, the game features bland characters, a poor story, too many cutscenes, and repetitive combat. Imagine the turn-based version of a hack and slash game: that’s Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE.
Nonetheless, the game makes up for its flaws with a beautiful, charming world. Atlus perfectly combines anime with JRPGs, using 2D anime-style cutscenes alongside a 3D game world. Perhaps Tokyo Mirage Sessions would work better as an anime film than a video game, but that isn’t a bad thing for some players.
29 amiibo Tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits
If you already have amiibo figurines, you should play amiibo Tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits. Unless you buy amiibo specifically for amiibo Tap, the software is completely free. Each amiibo unlocks a demo of a classic NES or SNES game, such as The Legend of Zelda or Super Metroid.
Sadly, the demos don’t last very long. They briefly tease you before linking you to the appropriate game on the Wii U’s Virtual Console.
The free nature of amiibo Tap makes me question why the software even exists. Why not provide these demos on the Virtual Console and completely skip the amiibo Tap software? Obviously, Nintendo wants you to purchase amiibo. You’ll enjoy amiibo Tap if you already own amiibo; otherwise, the short demos aren’t worth your money.
28 Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water
As the only horror game published by Nintendo for the Wii U, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water offers plentiful thrills. The game wonderfully capitalizes on the inherent horrors of water: whether you’re wading through dark water, running in the rain, or crawling through fog, you’ll tremble with every step. Maiden of Black Water combines natural settings with creepy modern settings, such as a house filled with dolls.
Sadly, the haunting atmosphere is the only good part of the game. Some of the ghosts are well-designed, but you’ll hate the bland protagonists within minutes. Cutscenes interrupt gameplay at odd times, creating terrible pacing for both gameplay and story. The GamePad sometimes works well as a realistic Camera Obscura, but it’s clunky more often than not. You’ll have a hard time rotating the Camera or moving while taking pictures. Since you need the Camera Obscura to defeat ghosts, the GamePad will frustrate you and ruin the immersive horror experience.
27 Super Mario Maker
While the other 2D Mario games on the Wii U lack originality, Super Mario Maker offers endless possibilities. Instead of playing a limited number of levels designed by Nintendo, you can now design your own Mario stages! Super Mario Maker presents several visual styles and an abundance of tools, letting you go as far as your imagination can take you.
Thanks to online capabilities, Super Mario Maker also lets you enjoy other players’ levels. You’re guaranteed to hate some stages, but you’ll also find amazing stages that perfectly match your playstyle. Designing good stages in Super Mario Maker takes a lot of work, so you might gain a larger appreciation for Nintendo’s traditional Super Mario games. I know I did.
26 NES Remix 2
NES Remix 2 offers better challenges than the original NES Remix, as well as a better lineup of NES games. The sequel only offers 12 games (as opposed to 16 in the prequel), but those games show why quality matters more than quantity.
The game also includes fewer challenges but improves the quality of those challenges—although they still aren’t particularly exciting if played alone and offline. Fortunately, Nintendo added online leaderboards to make the challenges more worthwhile and competitive. The original NES lacked online capabilities; now you can finally compare your NES scores with scores from around the world. NES Remix 2 also includes some multiplayer, giving the game more replay value than its prequel.
25 Nintendo Land
As a Wii U launch title, Nintendo Land nicely toys with the Wii U’s capabilities. The single-player mini-games don’t offer much variety or replay value, but the multiplayer activities will keep you and your friends thoroughly entertained.
In the competitive multiplayer games, four players team up against the player with the GamePad. Whether you’re working alone or with friends, you’ll develop new strategies with every round to throw off the other team. “Luigi’s Ghost Mansion” is particularly innovative and fun. The four-man party wanders Luigi’s mansion together on the TV, trying to survive the ghost. The fifth player controls the ghost on the GamePad, where they can see all the players—but the players cannot see them.
The cooperative mini-games could use more content and polish, but they’re nonetheless enjoyable. If you want to make good use of the GamePad alongside your friends, you should play Nintendo Land.
24 The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
The original Wind Waker is better than the original Twilight Princess, and the same is true of their HD remasters. Whereas Twilight Princess HD looks and feels just like the original game, Wind Waker HD preserves Wind Waker and simultaneously enhances it. The new game uses amazing lighting and makes characters more three-dimensional—all without removing the beautiful cel shading that made Wind Waker so charming.
Wind Waker HD also adds new, more efficient mechanics. With the Swift Sail, you’ll cross the Great Sea in no time. This partially removes the epic scope of Wind Waker’s original, sprawling world. However, the Swift Sail—in addition to all the remaster’s changes—generally improves gameplay.
As a short indie game, PSIBO will only entertain you for a couple hours—but it’s designed to only last a couple hours. The game creatively builds off of arcade games like Pong. You and your enemy deflect ball-shaped projectiles back and forth, but you determine how many projectiles occupy the screen. To win, you must break the blocks beyond your enemy. The enemy acts quickly, so you need to fire multiple projectiles—but if you fire too many and fail to deflect them, more enemies spawn and shoot at you.
PSIBO combines its simple but thrilling gameplay with epic music (only one song plays throughout the game, but it’s surprisingly addicting) and fun levels. Some stages are poorly designed, but the rest will keep you thoroughly entertained.
22 Super Mario 3D World
Despite having one of the worst bosses in the franchise, Super Mario 3D World is a fun game. The 3D game gives you and your friends plenty of room to mess around—unlike the claustrophobic, chaotic multiplayer in 2D Super Mario games. With a variety of beautiful settings and new power-ups, Super Mario 3D World will keep you entertained for many hours.
In fact, the game probably should have been shortened. While many of the levels are well-designed, some sections of the game feel barren and poorly paced. The unmoving camera creates some terrible angles—a problem no 3D, exploration-based game should have. If Nintendo had trimmed the game down and kept its best parts, Super Mario 3D World would have been a tremendous game.
21 Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival
As long as you know what you’re buying, Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival is a great game. Amiibo Festival feels like a casual, real-life board game: you roll a virtual die, choose which path to take, and witness events based on what space you land on (like drawing an event card). The events are narratively creative and visually entertaining. If you’re looking for a family board game, you should get Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival.
I and many fans would still prefer a traditional Animal Crossing game for the Wii U, but amiibo Festival makes good use of the franchise’s charming animal characters. It’s frustrating that you need specific amiibo figurines to fully enjoy the game, but the game’s a lot of fun once you’ve collected the Animal Crossing figurines.
20 Paper Mario: Color Splash
If you’re a fan of the early Paper Mario games, you might not enjoy Color Splash. You battle enemies with cards instead of normal attacks and special attacks. Overall, the clunky combat system is inferior to previous Paper Mario games. Apart from a few great jokes, the dialogue and characters are mediocre, and you have only one companion instead of a cast of memorable sidekicks.
Nonetheless, Color Splash offers a worthwhile experience. Relaxing music combines perfectly with the beautiful, colorful world. You can paint the papery world with your hammer, leading to some entertaining puzzles. If you enjoy splashing paint around the world like I did, you’ll have a lot of fun exploring Paper Mario: Color Splash and playing with its gorgeous world.
19 Art Academy: Home Studio
Home Studio improves upon Art Academy: SketchPad by including helpful lessons. If you want to practice your drawing skills, share those skills with the world, and learn some helpful drawing lessons along the way, you’ll love Home Studio.
You can learn not only from Nintendo’s lessons but also from other players. Unlike previous Art Academy games, Home Studio lets you upload your drawings as either a picture or video. The video (which can be two, three, or four minutes long) shows a time-lapse of your drawing, allowing other players to see your step-by-step process. This fun, helpful mechanic lets you see exactly how great artists create their art.
If you enjoyed SketchPad, you should update to Home Studio (if you already own SketchPad, you get a discount for Home Studio). Whether you own SketchPad or not, I recommend Home Studio for anyone wanting to test and improve their drawing skills.
With smooth gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and innovative shooter mechanics, Splatoon offers plentiful fun for both casual and hardcore players. The family-friendly shooter entertains children as well as adults ready to crush their foes. In order to win, you cover stages with as much paint as possible. You can also swim through your paint as a fast-moving squid, so you and your team benefit from well-placed paint. Splatoon’s simple mechanics are easy to pick up, but you can spend hours refining your skills and trying new strategies.
Admittedly, Splatoon can be pretty nauseating. In order to paint every blank surface, you have to constantly spin around. Apart from that, Splatoon plays quite smoothly. You’ll find yourself painting Splatoon’s well-designed maps for hours on end.
17 Kirby And The Rainbow Curse
Designed to look like a clay animation film, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse looks amazing. The beautiful, colorful worlds perfectly fit a Kirby game; however, the gameplay doesn’t belong in the Kirby franchise. Kirby should be able to hop around platforms, eat everything in sight, and steal the powers of his enemies. Instead, the game removes everything we love about Kirby and turns him into a colorful marble that just rolls around the screen.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is still a lot of fun. Nintendo designed great levels for the draw-and-roll mechanic, which works quite well on the GamePad. Instead of throwing Kirby into the game, Nintendo should have developed the same mechanics within a new Super Monkey Ball game and kept the visuals for a traditional Kirby title.
16 The Wonderful 101
If you’re looking for a charming, funny game that both embodies and makes fun of superheroes, you need to play The Wonderful 101. The game combines epic action with hilarious writing. For example, when you meet the Wonderful 100 and try out combat for the first time, a man sings an “epic” song explaining just how wonderful the Wonderful 100 are.
The combat’s also pretty fun, although the camera can be frustrating. Your tiny characters face both tiny and massive enemies, causing the camera to usually be zoomed in too much or too little. To use superpowers, you have to draw shapes on the GamePad, which usually—but not always—works well. Sometimes the game is too picky about your drawings. Overall, though, The Wonderful 101 plays smoothly and is thoroughly entertaining.
15 Wii Fit U
Wii Fit U makes up for the problems of Wii Fit by perfectly implementing exercise into the video game medium. You perform a wider list of activities, exercises, and balance-based mini-games in a variety of fun, beautiful settings. While Wii Fit took place in dull, gray rooms, Wii Fit U places you in colorful settings that make exercise thrilling.
Like its prequels, Wii Fit U includes great exercises. You won’t receive the benefits of a hardcore workout, but the game can improve your balance and cause a sweat.
The game’s also fun to play with other people (unlike its prequels). Wii Fit U consists entirely of single-player activities, but some are so entertaining and challenging that you’ll love competing and laughing with your friends.
14 Bayonetta 2
With a good sense of humor, solid voice acting, and an amazing combat system, Bayonetta 2 is one of the greatest action-adventure games on the Wii U. You’ll love shooting and slashing through the beautiful world as Bayonetta, a powerful witch who will destroy anyone and anything in her way. Every battle in Bayonetta 2 is fun, but the boss fights are particularly enjoyable. With creepy aesthetics and devastating moves, the bosses are so epic and challenging that you won’t complain when you lose and you’ll cheer when you win.
Bayonetta 2 lost some fans because the franchise switched from Xbox and PlayStation to Nintendo, but we’re so happy the game came to Wii U. If Nintendo hadn’t come along, Bayonetta 2 never would have released—and the world would have suffered a great loss.
13 Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge
With the right amiibo figurines, you unlock different characters in Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge. Each character has their own unique powers and levels, giving you a variety of fun challenges.
Unfortunately, each amiibo only unlocks a few levels. The levels are so fun that we’d love a longer, fully developed game rather than a collection of demos. We’d love to spend more time with each character and fully explore their mechanics.
Still, it’s hard to complain about a free game. The game’s so short that you probably shouldn’t pay for the amiibo. If you have the appropriate Mario and Donkey Kong amiibo figurines, however, you need to play Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge as soon as possible.
12 Pushmo World
Pushmo World wonderfully expands the possibilities of 3D puzzles. You view the game from a single camera angle and move blocks away from or toward the camera, making the puzzles simple but entertaining. The blocks can only move between three levels of depth, so you have to experiment with depth to solve increasingly complicated puzzles.
The puzzles develop at a perfect pace for the first half of the game. By then, you’ve probably mastered the mechanics—which makes the second half more boring than it should be. Pushmo World should have either removed some stages or added a few more innovative mechanics to justify more puzzles.
The game also needs more visual variety. With only one background for 250 puzzles, Pushmo World is incredibly fun at first but becomes visually and mechanically boring.
11 Xenoblade Chronicles X
Whether you’re flying or sprinting around the gorgeous world of Xenoblade Chronicles X, you’ll love every minute of exploration. Beautiful, creative creatures inhabit the fantastical settings. Thanks to the excellent combat system, you’ll enjoy both looking at and fighting the game’s monsters.
Xenoblade Chronicles X nicely combines story-based missions with affinity missions, in which you help your companions, learn more about them, and develop stronger relationships with them. Sadly, those companions aren’t very interesting. With better writing and voice acting, Xenoblade Chronicles X could have been perfect. As it is, the game features a poor story and a mediocre cast of characters. A lot of poorly written cutscenes interrupt the amazing gameplay. Fortunately, the game allows you to skip those cutscenes.
10 Pikmin 3
Pikmin 3 perfectly builds off of previous Pikmin games while adding its own innovative ideas to the franchise. The game brings back the difficult enemies and brutal time limit from the first Pikmin. The quirky style from Pikmin 2 merges with the serious tone of the first game, creating the perfect balance in Pikmin 3. Nintendo combines these elements with excellent level design, thrilling boss fights, and entertaining new Pikmin types to create an amazing experience.
The world is also gorgeous. Realistic natural environments combine well with fantastical creatures, particularly with the Wii U’s HD capabilities.
Controlling multiple characters—all of whom lead armies of Pikmin—doesn’t always work well because there’s too much to do in short time limits. Apart from that, Pikmin 3 is an absolute joy to play.
9 Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars may not be the most original game in the franchise, but it makes up for its unoriginality with excellent level design. Tipping Stars reuses mechanics from previous games but takes them to a new, challenging degree. You’ll find yourself wanting to beat every stage and collect every medal no matter how long it takes.
Even though new mechanics would have been great, the old mechanics work perfectly for the Wii U. Drawing paths on the GamePad works perfectly. However, you only need the GamePad; Tipping Stars makes the TV unnecessary and even distracting. The franchise has always been designed for handheld consoles, but Nintendo shouldn’t have included it on a home console without using the TV.
8 Lego City Undercover
Nintendo’s kid-friendly version of Grand Theft Auto is just as fun as the violent game that inspired it. Although you play a cop who can’t kill NPCs, you can still do just about anything you like. Whether you’re crashing into other cars, flying between buildings in a helicopter, or infiltrating a dangerous prison, you’ll have fun exploring the expansive LEGO City. If you enjoy GTA or contemporary open-world games in general, you’ll surely love this game.
Combining a modern city with colorful LEGOs, LEGO City Undercover is very aesthetically pleasing. Smashing and rebuilding LEGO objects is also incredibly satisfying.
LEGO City Undercover also features great dialogue. The voice acting isn’t the greatest, but the well-written jokes counteract the voices making the jokes.
7 Star Fox Guard
Star Fox Guard removes you from the battlefield and puts you in the control room. You defend forts with twelve different towers, but you can only fire one tower at a time. However, you watch the enemies with all twelve towers, leading to some strategic (and sometimes chaotic) battles against waves of enemies. The game brilliantly utilizes the Wii U’s capabilities. The TV displays twelve cameras while the GamePad shows an overhead map.
Nintendo keeps the game exciting with new types of enemies and missions. While early enemies just head straight for the center of the base, others block your cameras, carry unbreakable shields, make illusions, or move unpredictably (instead of taking the shortest route). Challenging side missions give you allies or limited ammo.
Star Fox Guard combines the best elements of 2D and 3D tower defense games into a single, unforgettable experience.
6 Super Smash Bros. For Wii U
The latest Super Smash Bros. game wonderfully returns the franchise to its fast-paced roots. Characters play smoothly with fun attacks and devastating combos. You can now enjoy local multiplayer with up to 8 players. The online matchmaking system works well, combining single players and teams in intense competitive matches.
With a wide cast of characters, you’re guaranteed to find characters you enjoy playing—but they might not last long. Nintendo consistently updates the game to keep the game well-balanced.
It’s too bad Nintendo didn’t start out with a well-balanced game like Melee. The updates upset many players—after all, your favorite character can change at any moment. Fortunately, you have plenty of characters to choose from if you lose your favorite character.
5 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Donkey Kong Country Returns brought back a beloved franchise while adding its own style and mechanics—and the sequel does the same thing. Tropical Freeze builds on its prequel with fun new characters, excellent music, and great level design. Although it has fewer levels than Returns, Tropical Freeze replaces lower quantity with higher quality. The new worlds and enemies are far more colorful, beautiful, and varied than those in Donkey Kong Country Returns. The boss battles particularly surpass those from Returns; the bosses perfectly combine platforming and combat.
Tropical Freeze restores some of the franchise’s old mechanics, such as underwater stages. However, the game expands these mechanics so even experienced Donkey Kong Country fans never get bored.
4 Yoshi’s Woolly World
Unlike the other Super Mario games on the Wii U, Yoshi’s Woolly World combines Mario platforming mechanics and enemies with a truly innovative design. The colorful, woolly stages look tremendous and are designed amazingly well. Secrets and challenges hide throughout the game, making Yoshi’s Woolly World perfect for both casual players and hardcore explorers.
Yoshi’s Woolly World plays a lot like Yoshi’s Story, but the Wii U game feels a lot better than its prequel. Yoshi performs a wider variety of moves, all of which connect perfectly to the woolly world. Whether you’re unraveling walls, creating platforms, or eating enemies, you’ll feel both powerful and adorable as Yoshi.
As an exciting yet also relaxing platformer, Yoshi’s Woolly World is Nintendo’s greatest 2D platformer for the Wii U.
3 Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 revitalizes the franchise with beautiful graphics, wonderful music, amazing level design, and many of the best items in the series. In addition to remaking some of the franchise’s best tracks, Nintendo adds several new stages that are even better. You’ll love racing down courses alone, with friends, or against online strangers.
Flying returns from Mario Kart 7, and anti-gravity wheels debut in Mario Kart 8. I think the game would have been better without these gimmicks: they often prevent you from seeing the next section of the stage. Nonetheless, these gimmicks can be pretty entertaining, and they barely harm the game. Despite its minor problems, Mario Kart 8 is the greatest game in the franchise. If you like racing games, you need to buy Mario Kart 8.
2 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
The gameplay in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker first appeared as a mini-game Super Mario 3D World. As Captain Toad, you entered secret stages where you couldn’t jump or defeat enemies like Mario. That might not sound fun, but Nintendo perfectly uses Toad’s vulnerabilities to make a thrilling—but also relaxing—game where you avoid enemies and search for treasure.
Nintendo developed this mini-game into a full-length game, and it’s absolutely amazing. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker uses simple mechanics and level design to make tremendous stages.
The main campaign is way too short, but Nintendo includes hidden treasures and a bonus challenge for each stage, as well as bonus stages. With brilliant puzzles contained in small, colorful stages, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker packs fun into every level without ever wasting your time.
1 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
A lot of people bought the Wii U specifically to play the new Zelda game. Unfortunately, Breath of the Wild experienced multiple delays and came out years later than expected—but it was definitely worth the wait. Breath of the Wild brings back the non-linear, open-world gameplay from the original Legend of Zelda and places it in a tremendous 3D world. Puzzles, dungeons, story-related cutscenes, and bosses hide throughout the game—and they’re all optional. With magical powers, a paraglider, and incredible rock-climbing skills that let you climb literally anything in the game, you can go wherever your heart desires.
Breath of the Wild combines open-ended exploration with open-ended combat. You can fight tough enemies with a variety of weapons and methods, making Breath of the Wild one of the most versatile, entertaining, rewarding games in the world.